If I’m Honest…

First read Jen Hatmaker’s post.  (from this morning).
When I think I can be brave and say, yeah I’d be willing to even have a refugee family in our home temporarily- (heck, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were middle eastern refugees, right?) I remember that I couldn’t even set aside the fear that my family might get sick when a neighbor needed somewhere to put their other sick kids while she took another to the hospital. I said no. So what makes me think I would say YES to all THAT mess. Make sure you check your own pulse when it comes to all the love talk. I truly believe it, but when it comes down to it, do we have enough faith that we can say our lives are not our own? Our money is not our own? Our kids are not our own- only entrusted to us? Do we really believe that!? We pray for Jesus to keep us safe, but He never guaranteed that, did He? I believe God protects, God provides – maybe not how we envision – but this life? It’s not certain. Jesus is the only constant. What makes us think our major sacrifice in life might be drinking out of a red starbucks cup? It might be your life. It’s that drastic of a swing. Because you opened your arms like Jesus did (for us all) to a neighbor or a stranger.

I’m not making any political commentary here, that hurts my brain, I’m just being a human who’s trying to follow Jesus and wrestle with what he wants me to do in MY life- maybe it strikes a chord in you, too- maybe not. That’s okay. I think it’s the government’s job to protect its people, and we live in a country like that. Thank you, Jesus. But as a Brethren-as an American, I have the religious freedom in this country to also choose to think differently about protection and defense. I don’t make laws though. I only vote for those who do. And that’s like picking which nut is less nutty than another nut, right? (disclaimer: there are good ones out there, don’t get your knickers in a twist.)

But then what I really want to say is THANK GOD not everyone is about turning the other cheek, right? If I’m honest that’s what I want to say. I’m glad some people are Mafia-like about their revenge for injustice. Maybe I’m glad they don’t have the same convictions as me. Go get, ’em, I say… While I pray…While I teach my kids to not hit back, or tell them the bully at school might just need a friend. Not the same, right? No, it’s not completely the same, but I’d like to think in light of recent events if we got to some of these little kids before ISIS brings them up to train under the evil of our Great Enemy, a little risk to us might mean ISIS’s downfall, because if they have no more youngens to train up in their bat-shit crazy ways, they sure as hell can’t fight us from their Rascals and ISIS nursing homes. There’s a visual for you. ISIS members in Rascals.

I don’t expect our government to act like Jesus. Do you? Whether your Democrat, Republican, Independent or Purple- as Christians we have a beefed up view that since we believe it and our government was “founded” on our beliefs they should do what we think God says. I thought there was separation between church and state? I could talk about all the causes that Christians on all sides want passed into law because of their faith. Maybe we should stop screaming about getting it through our red tape filled slow and money hungry political system and find another solution? So many people have- you just start being Jesus where you live and if an opportunity comes that you can be Him to someone? DO IT. Or not. I’ve chosen to not so many times, just like Jen Hatmaker, maybe just like you. I don’t always put others first, show grace and mercy and generosity- especially to strangers. I want them to earn my trust, my friendship. That’s what Jesus did right? He made us earn it… oh wait, no. See how this is hard? I’m not on a high horse, I’m saying this is HARD! It is! I fail daily at it! Lord have mercy! He didn’t even wait for us to believe in Him or be at least somewhat GOOD before he gave His LIFE for us. (Romans 5:8).
I will share with you the short version of a story where I wanted to help strangers. They were in the lowest of situations and I pulled them up and they met Jesus and turned their lives around and I felt so good about myself and I was encouraged to do it again and again. It’s so easy if you let it be. 
Okay, that story is entirely FALSE. These two took advantage of the system, many in our church reached out to them and we had a baby shower for them, I gave them money which I’m sure they used for cigarettes and not food. I held their newborn baby in the hospital while they went outside to smoke. I drove around with him all by myself (all the while him being addicted to drugs and a thief and a domestic abuser) and gathered her clothes to wash at my house from their motel room (FYI the now torn down Holiday, Inc.) We were trying to have a baby ourselves, and then I found out she was pregnant AGAIN. I was crushed. She already had five kids with other men and now this was her second with the druggie and abuser she couldn’t get away from. I truly cared for her though. It was hard to like him, but they were a couple so we that were helping wanted to be in their lives, not just throw money and a Bible at them and walk away hoping they’d figure it out. That December, in the middle of the night, she called me to say he kicked her out of the church’s apartment they stay in and locked the door- she was now pregnant with her second baby of his and barefoot in the snow while he took their 6 month old (no car seat) up to Sandusky where his heroin addict mother lived. Only after giving her a black eye and hocking loogies all over the walls. Awesome. I could see our example was rubbing off. 
Soon after that incident he was not allowed to stay in the apartment with her, and asked to stay at the Pump House which he did and was offered a job that he hardly worked at, citing back pain and not wanting to pay child support for his other three kids he fathered with other women. It wasn’t long before he left town altogether and went back to Texas. Some women (Wende was a champion for her especially) and I rallied around her and gave her friendship and support until one day she left. She just- gone. She made her way back to Texas to be with him again. Just over a year with her in my life and I couldn’t believe how the abused would want to go back to the abuser, I couldn’t believe all the times I was realizing she lied to me and others about different things. You could say I was a bit jaded about helping others in need after that. I’m sharing that story to say that I learned another lesson on how hard it is to put others before your own needs. You don’t always see the benefits. You rarely see something bloom into it’s thriving life-filled glory it was meant for. Is that why we choose not to do somethings? Hard to see the bennies? I googled them and found their mug shots for petty theft about a year after they left town. At least I know they were alive in 2010. God calls us to keep loving the unlovable. Our hard to get along with family and friends, strangers, our enemies. Keep hoping and loving.
So this is the reality we live in. I don’t want others to fight my battles for me- there are wordly battles and there are spiritual battles. I’m not a soldier in the world but I can be one for Christ. Defending precious lives is good! I would lay down my life for my children and hopefully other family and friends- I wouldn’t say “Hey, I just wanna have warm fuzzies for you guys, ISIS, so just do what you will. But if you want to be my friend, I’ll share my Oreos with you. Just take down all that mean stuff you said about us on Twitter.” There is some serious punishment that lies ahead for the wicked! We could succumb to that wickness as well- be careful!!! Jesus wants the strong to be around to take care of the widows and orphans. The poor. Children everywhere.
Other references to sacrificing for one another: John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
And we should be afraid: Luke 12:4“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.”
How do we love our enemies? How do we make them stop listening to Satan and carrying out his evil plans? I’m praying for their radical conversion. Maybe that’s a long shot. Yes, maybe a couple dozen bombs raining down will also do the trick, but maybe God could do what He did with Saul of Tarsus!? Could we see that miracle again!? The biggest murderer became one of our most revered apostles: Paul. (1 Timothy 1:12-16) “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Pray for them.
Pray for those who are being persecuted. Pray for our division to become unity. Satan is inserting chaos and division everywhere we look. Every crack is a foothold to him to make confusion and set us against one another. As long as we fight with each other over policy and words and about saving ourselves, keeping in or keeping out, he destroys. Don’t let him destroy your hope in humanity.
Love has already WON, people! We waste lots of time talking at people about what’s right. And arguing about it online or otherwise will RARELY change anyone’s mind, maybe only get them to think you’re an arrogant asshole. If it’s so right, just get on with it, and call me up to help you. I’ll try to get brave enough to say, okay, let’s do it. If I say no this time, don’t give up on me.

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